To say that God is perfect is to state the obvious because that which we understand by the term ‘God’ is perfect. To say that Creation is perfect is also true because it is inconceivable that imperfection may begotten of perfection. In the light of human experience, it is inevitable that such a notion should be challenged, thus questions arise, some of which are paradoxical, of which the following is a classic example: Can a God who is perfect act in an imperfect manner? The paradox that emerges is this; If the answer is ‘No’ then the omniscience of God is limited and therefore imperfect, and if the answer is ‘Yes’ the integrity of God’s perfection is questionable. Such a question is typical of human thought and speculation, which seems to be forever creating God in its own image. Such speculation frequently gives rise to specious arguments that are somehow intended to demonstrate the cleverness of the human Intellect. In this case God seems to be in a no-win situation - or would be if limited by human understanding.
To be fair it is an important question, at the root of which lies some of humanity’s more emotive concerns regarding the meaning of existence, such as why suffering or in the light of suffering, is God a just God and if an unjust God, what then of good and evil? The resolution of this paradox lies in the recognition that the question posed is typical of the human intellect speculating about a God created in its own very human image. The argument is a human argument with human terms and limitations, and the answer, well, that is not to be found in questioning the motives and integrity of Divine Omnipotence, but in questioning the peculiarity of human hopes and expectations of Divine Providence, and, in the frequently erroneous interpretation of the nature and activities of what humanity, in the main, considers to be perfect in every way, i.e.; God.
It seems to me that in examining the notion of the perfection of Creation one must first have a clear Idea of what is meant by the term ‘perfect’. The word defines that which is complete and without flaw and as such in its absolute sense applies to God alone. Confusion arises in assuming that creation is like God – in a state of absolute perfection. A condition that is obviously untrue, yet it is true to say that creation functions in every manner precisely as God intends, which is to say that the Will of God is completely fulfilled in and by Creation. It must therefore follow that if Creation is in perfect harmony with Divine Will it must then be completely without error, and in this sense, it is without flaw. Herein then lies the heart of the matter; Creation is perfect in its harmony with Divine Will, but has yet to attain a state of ultimate or absolute Perfection.
This idea is not so difficult to understand if one recognises that the Will of God is fulfilled in Creation through the process which humanity currently understands as ‘Evolution’, a word that means ‘to unfold’ but has become increasingly used in a restricted sense as a term to describe the progressive development of Creation from simple forms to more complex forms and expressions. However, from a spiritual perspective Creation in its evolution is fulfilling the Will of God by evolving to a predetermined goal barely comprehended by humanity, for humanity like the rest of Creation, unfolding in accordance with God’s Will has yet to attain the final state of absolute perfection that can give a complete understanding of the purpose and meaning of existence. Until then human thoughts about such things can only be speculation and guesswork.
It is a matter of fact that human understanding of the mechanisms of life’s experiences must be at this point in its development seriously limited, determinants such as life expectancy, ageing, social conditioning, technology and learning ability etc., are, as yet, insufficient for any true perspective of reality. It is then not surprising that a great deal still perplexes humanity; senseless acts of barbarism and savagery and apparently meaningless afflictions of disease upon the young and defenceless anger and bewilder us, because our limited powers of understanding are incapable of realising the true significance of such events. However, the lessons of experience will eventually teach us that it is pointless trying to create a god in our own image, and furthermore, that there are laws beyond our powers of manipulation to which we must comply. Indeed, we will be far better served by partaking in the essential process of forming humanity in God’s image wherein our vices are transformed into virtues and the pursuit of self-interest is dropped in favour of the common-good. Only then perhaps will such characteristics and conditions that are universally abhorred become obsolete, as the divine potential within humanity is more fully expressed.
It may be at this time difficult to differentiate between the notion of the perfection of God and the perfection of God’s creation, but it is possible, therefore should we not accept God and then accept Divine Providence, and finally accept the sanity of the Divine motive underlying Creation.
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